How Artificial Intelligence is Teaching Us How to be More Human
Human behavior experts have been deeply concerned for several years now. Many feel that we are losing our ability to be human, and we are doing so at a disturbing rate¹.
Several aspects of modern society are making it more difficult to hold on to our humanity. But our ability to be human has become a victim of the ironies we have established.
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For instance, we promote and praise independence, yet we are becoming more isolated from one another. We encourage creativity and curiosity, yet we place a bigger premium on certainty. And finally, we stress the importance of human connection, yet we are losing our ability to be humble and empathetic.
The deepest version of our humanity is steeped in our vulnerabilities. It is our collective fragility that binds us together to solve critical problems like saving our planet. Unfortunately, we are becoming a society that remains fixated on our masks of perfection.
Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue
Here’s the biggest irony of all. Technology has been directly blamed for stealing our humanity², yet it can teach us how to be whole again. Artificial intelligence has shown the objectivity to let us see who we really are because we’ve lost the ability to see it for ourselves.
AI provides the mirror we need to see ourselves
We are living in a world where robots driven by AI are already interacting with humans. The biggest obstacle in forging a relationship between human and machine has always been a matter of trust.
Humans struggle with trusting robots because they behave perfectly — which only magnifies the differences between them and us. This is true even when robots are acting in the best interests of their human companions.
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However, robot engineers discovered a way to bridge this gap³. They discovered that when robots make a ‘mistake’ and even apologizes, humans will follow them anywhere. This fact also supports what we said earlier about how humans connect out of our vulnerabilities and not our perfections.
Interesting how we demand that our AI be more human. Because it immediately teaches us that imperfection is the first test of being human.
Furthermore, robot engineers discovered that after robots earned human trust, they actually helped humans connect and communicate more effectively with one another. In other words, robots made humans more humanlike.
AI is changing the definition of being human
Many of us grew up with the vision of a future world where humanoid robots would live in our society. They would be so lifelike that it would be impossible to distinguish between them or real human beings.
Experts today dispel such a worldview, instead, they claim we’ll live in a world where humans and machines will work alongside one another. AI will become companions rather than the mysterious adversaries we once envisioned. And it is through this unique relationship that the meaning of being human will be redefined.
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For many generations, the brightest among us defined being human as having a pulse, having awareness, and having more intelligence than other life forms on our planet. AI is not removing those definitions; instead, they are enhancing them⁴.
Machines driven by AI shows us why our pulse exists at its current level and whether it is a healthy indication. AI helps us better understand our current levels of awareness through various ways to measure our senses and even our brainwaves. Machines also discover deficiencies in our physiology that explain some of our mental lapses.
In other words, they are deepening our ability to be human.
AI that cares for the most vulnerable in our society
For generations, there has been a very effective litmus test to rapidly assess a person’s character. Observe how they treat those who have no power.
The powerless in our society has always been the elderly, animals, children, and those who serve the public. This assessment has lived a long life because it is extremely reliable.
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Today, we are seeing AI serve those who are powerless among us. For instance, robotic pets are becoming popular with the elderly population⁵. Due to advances in medicine, our senior citizen population keeps getting bigger. Because life gets more demanding, the children of those senior citizens have less time to spend with them.
AI pets are the perfect solution for this scenario, as they provide companionship for the elderly who are lonely, and they provide peace of mind for their family members. Experts claim that these AI nannies will most likely be used for young children and even pets in the future.
What is a better example of humanity than compassion?
: Jason Stadtlander. (September 24, 2015). We Are Losing Our Humanity. https://jasonstadtlander.com/losing-humanity/.
: Nilesh Makwana. (May 8, 2019). By Making Tech More Human, Are We Losing Our Humanity? https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/333459.
: Nicholas A. Christakis. (April 2019). How AI Will Rewire Us. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/04/robots-human-relationships/583204/.
: Lauren Paige Kennedy. How Artificial Intelligence Helps in Health Care. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/artificial-intelligence-helps-health-care.
: Kelsie Smith. (August 11, 2020). Lifelike robotic pets are helping isolated seniors avoid loneliness. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/11/us/seniors-robotic-pets-loneliness-wellness-scn-trnd/index.html.